by Nestor Sanchez
With the 2019 Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix winning 2 Oscars and receiving 9 other nominations, Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime has never been more relevant in Pop culture news. Not only is 2020 a good year for the Jokers publicity but it’s also his 80th year anniversary. With April 25th being a month away and the announcement of The Three Joker story set to release in June 2020 let’s look at some of the most iconic moments from his history.
Throughout the 80 years, the Joker has appeared in many stories that were considered both in and out of canon. This iconic Joker story wasn’t originally meant to impact DC’s continuity but it was such a well received story that DC made it official, this was Batman: The Killing Joke. In this storyline, DC pushed the Joker to a new level. Not only did he shoot and paralyze Barbara Gordan the Batgirl at the time. The Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordan, ties him to an amusement park ride while he is naked, and through the ride shows him pictures of his daughter Barbara who also is naked bleeding from a gunshot wound in the spine. Just so the Joker can prove to Batman a normal man can go insane with one bad day. This story, makes Barbara Gordan take up the mantle of Oracle for 20 years due to her paralysis.
One of the most controversial stories in comic book history was the Death In The Family. While this story happened during Batman Issue #426 through #429, this is a Joker centric story. In this story, Joker manipulates Jason Todd (the second Robin) to do a worldwide search for his mother. After finding his mother it was revealed that Joker was blackmailing her so she handed Jason to the Joker. The Joker brutally beat Jason with a crowbar and set the building to explode. This was the story where DC allowed the reader to decide if Jason lived or died, which ultimately they chose to kill Jason. For the next 20 years before Jason Todd’s resurrection, the Joker was, he was known as the man who killed Robin.
While the Joker has had many stories in its 80 years run the last two Iconic moments aren’t part of the story but set it up a future story. During DC’s New 52 in 2011, one of the first things the Joker did was have his face removed. He cut off his face just to wear his face as a mask, this led to theDeath Of A Familystoryline where he kidnaps Dick Grayson-Nightwing, Jason Todd-Redhood, Barbara Gordan-Batgirl, Damian Wayne-Robin, and makes Batman think he cut off all of their faces as well.
With the Joker paralyzes Batgirl, killing a Robin, and cutting his own face the Joker sets a high bar to shock the readers. But the most iconic moment for the Joker revelation to not only Batman but to the world is that there is not only one or two, but three different Jokers. During the Darkside War storyline, Batman sat on the Mobius Chair and became the God of Knowledge. Being Batman he did not trust the chair to know everything so it asked a question that only he knew the answer too. The chair answered the question correctly in a second so Batman asked a question for years the comic book readers wanted to know. WHAT IS THE JOKER’S REAL NAME? During his 80 years the Joker has repeatedly lied to the characters and to the readers during his 80 years the Joker has repeatedly lied to the characters and to the readers, he would randomly change parts just for laughs. The Joker repeatedly said that he likes his origins to be multiple choice. This was the chance for the readers to finally get a clue who the Joker is. All we got was a confused Batman, and had to wait until Justice League #50 to hear the Mobius Chair response. The Chair’s answer to “What is the Joker’s name?” which Joker are you asking about? There are three of them.
The Joker has had such an eventful 80 years and with The Three Jokers set to resolve a mystery no one expected. The Joker War being one of Bruce Wayne’s last stories before DC’s 5G initiative where Luke Fox will take over as Batman. While the Joker’s future isn’t certain after these stories, his legacy will impact Batman’s mythos for years to come.